ABOUT

Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last 12 years documenting life above and below water in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. He is currently working with the Smithsonian Institution documenting new Caribbean deep-water species and building a one of a kind database. His underwater images can regularly be seen in Sport Diver, Scuba Diver and on the Ikelite website. His image of a "Collage of Corals" seen under blue-light at night recently placed in the TOP 10 images for the 2014 NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) photo contest.

General

Archive for the ‘Trips’

Sep 21, 17     Comments Off on New Deep Sea Batfish in the NEW Issue of Sport Diver

May 25, 17     Comments Off on Decodon puellaris, Deep-Sea Hogfish, Colorful Fish

Here’s a WOWZERS fish for you all this morning called a Decodon puellaris or a deep-sea red hogfish and this is the juvenile of that species. When older this crazy colorful little fish will loose a lot of these colors and markings and turn a dark orange or reddish color, still beautiful but nothing like his or her baby colors. For those of you wondering about size, this one here is about three inches in length. These fish are incredible little hunters and love brittle stars, crabs, shrimps and urchins, in fact it’s fish like this that keep most of the invertebrates hidden on the reef most of the day. On many occasions I have seen these fish picking on and trying to eat hermit crabs as well, they are true reef bullies and not as nice as they appear to be. This was another in the long list of cool finds from St. Eustatius a few weeks ago found by the Smithsonian and Substation Curacao.

have a great day!

Barry

Jan 24, 17     Comments Off on Decondon, Deep Sea Fish, Deep Wrasses, Colorful Fish
Jun 30, 16     Comments Off on Curacao Coral Restoration Foundation, CRFCuracao

BAR-

BAR-

Good morning all, we are having a week of hurricane force winds making it tough to do anything outside! Yesterday we were going to take the submersible out for a collecting trip but because of the crazy wind driving big waves to shore we were unable to even get our sub in the water.

So today I have a coral nursery or coral Christmas tree for you that I photographed near the Substation but to the west a little ways. This is a super cool coral restoration project being done by the Curacao Coral Restoration Foundation. What your looking at is baby Staghorn corals that are almost ready to be taken out to the reef and planted if you will in hopes of making new coral colonies. This species of coral is one of the many that are now on the critically endangered list!

Coral Restoration Foundation Curacao successfully set up the first coral nursery on Curacao between May 19th and May 24th. The initial set up consists of 10 “trees” located on the Stella Maris house reef of Ocean Encounters and Lions Dive and Beach Resort.

These trees will provide a safe nurturing environment for fragments of Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) until they are ready to restore our reefs.

Collection, installation and training was conducted by experts from the Coral Restoration Foundation International, Ken Nedimyer (Founder and President), Denise Nedimyer, and Mike Echevarria (Chairman CRFI), as well as Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire’s Augusto Montburn and Francesca Virdis.

Have a wonderful day out there!

Barry

May 26, 16     Comments Off on Giant Hermit Crab, Petrochirus Diogenes, Crabs
Mar 3, 16     Comments Off on Trashed Elkhorn Corals, Trash on the Reef
Dec 17, 15     Comments Off on Curacao Christmas Cactus, Curacao Festivities
Sep 7, 15     Comments Off on Old Vintage Bottles Found with a Submersible

Good morning all, how was your weekend?? I finally got around to shooting some of the old bottles we found with the submersible on the island of Klein Curacao last week. When the bottles come up from the deep they are filled with trapped hermit crabs that manage to get in but they can’t get back out and we end up with a jar full of old deep water sea shells. Starting from the left we have A typical Dutch Onion Bottle that dates back to the early 18th century. The glass is a shade of green with small bubbles and imperfections. The size and shape of these bottles varies due to the fact that they were mouth-blown in a variety of glass houses in Europe. It has a deep base with a typical jagged pontil scar where the bottom was pushed up with an iron rod to form the base of the bottle. Bottles like this traveled all over the world on the old sailing ships.

Some of the earliest liquor bottles were like the square one pictured to the right in the #3 position (going left to right) which is square in cross section and generally designed to contain gin though undoubtedly contained various types of liquor and possibly wine. Commonly called “case gin” or “taper gin” bottles since they would pack more efficiently to a case (6 to 24 bottles) than round bottles (Illinois Glass Company 1903). Case gin bottles are square with a more or less distinct taper inwards from the shoulder to the base (or a flaring from the base to the shoulder if you prefer). The neck is very short to almost non-existent with the finishes varying from a laid-on ring, flared, mineral finish, oil, and even a blob. This shape and style of bottle originated in and was commonly made in Europe at least as early as the mid-17th century and have been found in contexts as early as 1745 in the New World (Jones & Smith 1985; Hume 1991). However, some case gin type bottles were made in the U.S. during the time span of popularity for this bottle type from at least the early 19th century.

Bottles #2 and #4 were used for spirits as well as ale/porter, wine, and likely other liquid consumables and date from the early 1850’s to the early 1900’s.

The last one on the end, all the way to the right reads; C. BROMLEY, ADAM.STREET, GOOLE. It is also a major antique and dates to the early 1900’s.

Our friend Carole Baldwin from the Smithsonian took the photo of me shooting the bottles without me knowing it, thought I would throw it in to show you the work we go through for a single photo these days. Please don’t ask me to sell the bottles, they are already spoken for and will get great homes.

Have a wonderful day all…

Barry

Jun 10, 15     Comments Off on Ocean Portal, Happy World Ocean Day Letters
Mar 31, 15     Comments Off on Testing Mountain Bikes for Outside Magazine 2015

Good morning friends, yesterday we had 3 customer submersible dives meaning yours truly was underwater and busy from sunup till sundown, no time for the blog.

I have a fun movie for you all today and it has nothing to do with a coral reef or Curacao. During my January vacation this year I met up with our buddy Aaron Gulley and his wife Jen in Tucson Arizona for another year of testing road and mountain bikes for Outside Magazine. I was also joined by Leon, one of our best friends who lives in South Dakota and loves to cycle and we both stayed with my mom. The event itself is called “Bourbon Bike”, it lasts for around a week and is a full out test of just how much riding a person can do in a day and can you keep it up for a week? About 100 of the most expensive road and mountain bikes are sent to Aaron in Tucson where first they all have to be taken out of the boxes and put together, this alone can take days! Then once the bikes are together a very select group of lucky riders meets at a designated location and on the hour, every hour, a different bike is taken out and ridden, sounds like fun right?? There are few riders like Aaron that have the ability to ride a different bike every hour of the day for a week straight, I’m lucky if I do half what he does! The film above shows 2 of the beautiful bikes we grabbed for a fun morning ride at Sweetwater preserve, one of the best single-track mountain bike trails in Tucson, Leon and I had a blast! 

I have another busy day on tap….

See you soon.

Barry

Mar 3, 15     Comments Off on Rough Fileclam, Lima scabra, Mollusks

Good morning all, I have a beautiful Rough Fileclam, Lima scabra for you all today that I found “open for business” on a recent night dive. These are often called Flame Scallops, they only grow to about three and a half inches and can be found from 3-130 feet. Brilliant red to orange-red mantle with tentacles often reddish orange, especially in shallow water and white in deeper water. Whitish to brownish valves sculptured with many fine, radiating ribs. They inhabit narrow cracks, crevices and recesses. Valves usually hidden with only the mantle and tentacles exposed. Often attach to substrate by byssal threads. If threatened these shells can swim (amazing to see) by clapping it’s shells together “in a jerky movement” and can really dart through the water!

During the consumption process, flame scallops sift and sort through the phytoplankton with their gills to determine what is appropriate for ingestion.

The Bivalvia, in previous centuries referred to as the Lamellibranchiata and Pelecypoda, comprise a class of marine and freshwater molluscs that have laterally compressed bodies enclosed by a shell consisting of two hinged parts. They have no head, and they also lack a radula. Bivalves include clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, scallops, and numerous other families that live in saltwater, and well as a number of families that live in freshwater. The majority are filter feeders. The gills have evolved into ctenidia, specialized organs for feeding and breathing. Most bivalves bury themselves in sediment, where they are relatively safe from predation. Others lie on the sea floor or attach themselves to rocks or other hard surfaces. A few bore into wood, clay or stone and live inside these substances. Some bivalves, such as the scallops, can swim.

The shell of a bivalve is composed of calcium carbonate, and consists of two, usually similar, parts called valves. These are joined together along one edge (the hinge line) by a flexible ligament that, usually in conjunction with interlocking “teeth” on each of the valves, forms the hinge. This arrangement allows the shell to be opened and closed without the two halves becoming disarticulated. The shell is typically bilaterally symmetrical, with the hinge lying in the sagittal plane. Adult shell sizes of bivalves vary from fractions of a millimeter to over a metre in length, but the majority of species do not exceed 10 cm (4 in).

Have a great day…

Barry

 

Mar 2, 15     Comments Off on Flying Gurnards, Dactyylopterus volitans
Jul 1, 14     Comments Off on Giant Caribbean Reef Squid, YouTube Video

Good morning friends, I finally have a Video for you all today that I shot the other night of a giant Caribbean Reef Squid. This was shot with the NEW Ikelite Vega Video lights and Ikelite/GoPro Tray, what a perfect combination!!!

http://ikelite.com/lighting/2107.2-vega-dual-kit-gopro-flex.html

Here is the Squid Video…………

The Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), also known as just the Reef Squid, is a small (20 cm) torpedo-shaped squid with fins that extend nearly the entire length of the body and undulate rapidly as it swims. The squid has recently become notable when it was discovered that it could fly out of the water; a discovery which finally led to identification of six species of flying squid.

The Caribbean reef squid is found throughout the Caribbean Sea as well as off the coast of Florida, commonly in small schools of 4-30 in the shallows associated with reefs. The habitat of the Reef Squid changes according to the squid’s stage of life and size. New hatchlings tend to reside close to the shore in areas from 0.2“1 meters below the surface on or under vegetation. Young small squid typically congregate in shallow turtle grass near islands and remain several centimeters to two meters from the surface to avoid bird predators. Adults venture out into open water and can be found in depths up to 100 m. When mating, adults are found near coral reefs in depths of 1.5“8 m. The Caribbean reef squid is the only squid species commonly sighted by divers over inshore reefs in the Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean region.

This species, like most squid, is a voracious eater and typically consumes 30-60% of its body weight daily. Prey is caught using the club-like end of the long tentacles which are then pulled towards the mouth supported by the shorter arms. Like other cephalopods, it has a strong beak which it uses to cut the prey into parts so that the raspy tongue, or radula, can be used to further process the food. It consumes small fish, other mollusks, and crustaceans.

Caribbean reef squid have been shown to communicate using a variety of color, shape, and texture changes. Squid are capable of rapid changes in skin color and pattern through nervous control of chromatophores. In addition to camouflage and appearing larger in the face of a threat, squids use color, patterns, and flashing to communicate with one another in various courtship rituals. Caribbean reef squid can send one message via color patterns to a squid on their right, while they send another message to a squid on their left.

Off to the sea, busy day on tap!

Barry

Jun 6, 14     Comments Off on Phutuq K’usi, Phutuqk’usi, Putucusi Trail Peru

Good morning friends, sorry about the no blog yesterday but we are super busy trying to get our Peru photos out and ready for sale. As I mentioned earlier we shot around 400gb worth of photos meaning we have a lot of work to do! The places we photographed include but are not limited to; Aquas Calientes, Chinchero, Cusco, Las Chullpas, the Putucusi trail (above), Machu-Picchu, Mares, mountain biking, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Pisac Ruins, Sol Y Luna, stone carving, Ollantaytambo Quarry and Uruabamba to name a few! The photo above is near the base of the World famous Putucusi trail and was our first introduction into a real jungle setting. This trail starts near the the town of Aguas Calientes behind the train station where you buy your bus tickets to Machu Picchu. To say this was the most beautiful trail I had ever been on would be an understatement, it’s breath taking in more ways than one! This is the trail with the insane 100 foot ladder sectons that we climbed and at the top is a spectacular view of Machu-Picchu that few get to see, it’s worth the effort! Aimee and I stopped every feet yards to photograph the ferns, flowers butterfies and birds, it’s a photographers dream trail!

Phutuq K’usi or Phutuqk’usi (Quechua phutu bud, -q a suffix, k’usi a cucurbita species, a small zucchini or cucurbita pepo, “budding zucchini (or cucurbita pepo)”, hispanicized spelling Putucusi) is a round-shaped mountain located on the opposite side (northeast) of the Urubamba River to Machu Pikchu in the Cusco Region of Peru. Reaching approximately 2,560 metres (8,400 ft) above sea level at its peak, the mountain offers epic views of Machu Pikchu and the surrounding Urubamba River valley.

Phutuq K’usi, Machu Pikchu (“old peak” in Quechua) and Wayna Pikchu (“young peak”) are considered apus or holy mountains by the local Quechua people.The view of Machu Pikchu from the summit requires a 1.5-hour trek up the mountain, with approximately 1,700 wood and rock steps. A recently discovered Inca Trail, the path lies just 10 minutes west of Aguas Calientes following the train tracks along the Urubamba River. The entrance is free.

The first half of the journey is jungle trail, and involves several very steep vertical wooden ladders, the largest of which scales over 100 feet (30 m). The second half presents views of Aguas Calientes and the Urubamba River valley, as the trail ascends the eastern face of Phutuq K’usi in switchback fashion. The train passes through native flora including pisonayes, q’eofias, alisos, puya palm trees, ferns and more than 90 species of orchids.

In spring 2011, floods wiped out the vertical ladder section of the climb, making an ascent impossible without professional climbing gear, but by August 2012, all the ladders had been replaced.

Well gang, have a wonderful weekend, we have a three day weekend!

Cheers, Barry

May 19, 14     Comments Off on Endangered Queen Conch, Lobatus gigas

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